TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he believes coronavirus has “stabilized” in Florida. The message came during a virus update after the state marked the grave milestone of more than 200,000 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
In three of the past five days, the Sunshine State saw more than 10,000 new daily coronavirus cases. The percentage of people testing positive has also dramatically gone up. Some public health experts say Florida may be the next epicenter of the virus.
At the news conference, Gov. DeSantis spoke with health officials from UF Health The Villages hospital, highlighting various hospital capacities throughout the state.
“I want us to be in May. I want us to be in early June, where we were at 3, 4 percent (positivity,)” said DeSantis. “We want to get back to that for sure. I think we’ve stabilized at where we’re at.”
The governor said Florida’s new average coronavirus patient is much younger and less at risk of dying.
“There’s no need to be fearful, let’s just focus on the facts,” said DeSantis.
The governor is resisting calls to issue a statewide mask order. Instead, he’s said he’s trusting Floridians to be responsible and make good decisions.
“Now we’ve also said now since May that if you can’t social distance, wearing a facial covering can cut down on the transmission, we believe, some,” said DeSantis. “But it’s not in lieu of social distancing.”
As the COVID-19 surge shifts to the west and south, leaders on both sides of the aisle continue to implore Americans to wear masks. In Texas, it’s now a requirement for all counties with more than 20 cases.
“There’s no doubt the mask protects you and protects others,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, said last week during a Senate hearing.